The Online MBA Experience

Inspired by the influential Silicon Valley setting of Santa Clara University, our program is designed to transform our students into dynamic leaders capable of enacting and managing change across countless industries.

Video Transcript

Speaker 1:
Right from the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University offers an innovative online MBA program designed to help students become Silicon Valley professionals or SVPs. The online MBA at SCU finds inspiration in Silicon Valley's entrepreneurial spirit and provides a unique curriculum built to develop leaders with a broad business, economic, and social perspective who are capable of managing change in a dynamic working environment.

Grounded in the Jesuit educational tradition, the online MBA at Santa Clara provides students with a foundational curriculum that can immediately be applied in the workplace. Students have an opportunity to develop a depth of understanding in subjects like economics, finance, marketing, and data analytics, with the option to tailor their own coursework through a variety of electives. Our courses present a unique perspective on traditional business classes and are taught by the same professors who teach on campus at SCU. And because our faculty are experienced professionals, they're able to connect students with diverse guest speakers from around the country, including the Silicon Valley area to share guidance and key insights on course topics.

The online MBA program at Santa Clara utilizes modern digital learning technologies, where students interact with both faculty and peers in a dynamic learning environment. Projects and coursework range from assigned readings to team-based projects supported by video lectures and group discussions done in real time. Additionally, students can track their progress throughout the program using a personalized SVP dashboard.

The SVP dashboard is an integrative portfolio, enable students to visualize, design, and curate their individual and professional development. Grounded in the skills and values vital for an SVP, the dashboard facilitates students' engagement with faculty, peers, mentors, and alumni, captures feedback, self-reflection and accomplishments, and allows each student to personalize their MBA journey while building a portfolio of skills and achievements to aid in their success as a future SVP. This online MBA program presents students with an opportunity to push the boundaries of experiential learning with a diverse curriculum and innovative learning environment. Santa Clara offers a highly personalized online MBA program that blends theory and practice, providing online education for the next generation of leaders.

Our online platform delivers Silicon Valley to you.

Because of our ideal location in the capital of innovation, our Online MBA provides a foundational education that can help advance your business, economic, and social skills while growing your network of connections. From the moment you enroll in the Online MBA program to the moment you graduate, you’ll be fully immersed in our dynamic online learning environment and equipped with innovative tools to gauge your progress and track your accomplishments.

Video Transcript

Interviewer:
Tour. Okay.

Crew:
Yeah.

Interviewer:
All right. Hey, welcome everybody. We're here today to talk to some of our online MBA students. They're going to talk to you about their experiences, what's worked for them and why they chose to be an online MBA student here at Santa Clara University. So I'm just going to start you guys by asking you to tell your name and a little bit about yourself to give the folks at home some information. So why don't we start here.

Karina:
Sure. I'm Karina Belosi. I am a senior sales and marketing executive who works in the natural products industry, and that's about it. I have two kids at home, a very busy life, and I work a lot.

Interviewer:
Yay.

Robert:
That sounds familiar. I'm Robert Woleski, I'm 32 years old. I work at Adobe in San Jose as a senior product manager. I also have two kids, which pretty much take all my free time up.

Interviewer:
That's a good news.

Robert:
Yeah.

Sarah:
Awesome. My name's Sarah Heron, and I actually just recently left my job at Macy's to pursue my MBA here. I do not have kids, but I have a beautiful kitten who takes up all my free time. But yes, on the side I do coach CrossFit as well, and that's what I do with my life.

Interviewer:
Yay, maybe you guys could talk a little bit about what your motivations were for joining, starting an MBA program, but in particular, why you chose the online MBA program because I think people have some different choice sets when they decide to do that versus an evening program. So I'll go this way.

Sarah:
Absolutely. So in my transition with leaving my VP position at Macy's, I knew I'd be in the pursuit of looking for another career. And in that I really wanted to focus on a program that allowed me to be flexible in regards to a new job, potentially moving, whatever that may look like, travel, all of that. And this program really fit that aspect. And now that this program actually is open now to being on campus and online, I find it to be even more fitting for my current career hunt, career search, as well as career growth.

Interviewer:
Cool. And just to build on that, so what that is, you can take electives that are on campus that are not electives that we have online. And so that adds flexibility for you so that you can go into a concentration or add other courses for your concentration if that's what you want to do or dabble some more, if that works, so.

Sarah:
Yes.

Interviewer:
Robert?

Robert:
Well, so I graduated in, actually from Santa Clara University, in 2009.

Interviewer:
A Double Bronco.

Robert:
Double Bronco, but I graduated in the recession, so it was extremely difficult to find a career and I kind of stumbled into IT to be totally honest. So 10 years later I'm kind of sitting there being like, "Well, what's next?" And really I saw the MBA as an opportunity to try something different, maybe get back to some of the passions I had earlier in my youth, you could say. And ultimately I was very torn between the on campus and online MBA. You know, I've never taken online courses before to be totally honest. But one thing I knew at the time was I trusted Santa Clara because I came back, right? So I thought being... I live in Santa Cruz.

Karina:
Oh me too.

Robert:
Oh, perfect. Well, I knew it was going to be a really difficult—

Interviewer:
About 45 minutes away for you folks that don't know.

Robert:
About 45 minutes unless it's a beach weekend.

Interviewer:
Yeah, well.

Robert:
Then it's like double or triple.

Karina:
Bets are off.

Robert:
So ultimately I sort of trusted Santa Clara to provide a strong online class and experience, and ultimately it worked perfectly with my schedule and having two kids and having to commute.

Karina:
Yeah, the drive.

Robert:
Exactly. So that's why I'm here today.

Interviewer:
Cool. Different story? Same story?

Karina:
Similar. I have two kids, as I mentioned earlier, and that's a big change, it's a big shift. Working in senior management in the natural products industry as a sales and marketing executive, a lot of travel is typically included. And so I really kind of sat with my heart of hearts a couple years back and said, "What do I want? And do I want to keep working in this industry?" So part of what was my motivation was ultimately to say, "Do I want to broaden my horizons? Do I want to do something that's slightly different?"

One of the things I've been considering is whether or not I want to start my own company and the natural products industry. And I feel like I just don't have the same depth of information or understanding of how finances work because I've been so focused on the sales and people side of it. So that has been an incredible pursuit so far. I feel like I've already learned a lot more than I expected. I didn't know what I didn't know.

Robert:
I agree. I totally agree.

Karina:
And so I've moved through that ignorance phase already and I'm just continuing to build. So I like the flexibility of online. I like the fact that I'm close enough to come here and visit with all of you. And I'm also considering a couple of those elective courses that are not presently taught online and that I think will really add to what I want to do.

Interviewer:
Right, and you have the choice. You can weigh what works for you and what quarter works for you to do that. Yeah. That makes sense. Maybe just because you guys have all commented a little bit, maybe you could say a little bit about what it means to be an online student or what the experience kind of looks like. I think many people are in your shoes, Robert, where you haven't necessarily taken an online class and you might have MOOCs or a Coursera course in mind, maybe. So maybe you could say a little bit about what that means for you in terms of experience, how you structure your work or your life around all of that.

Robert:
Sure. To be honest, at first I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'd be interested in your responses, but it's actually just like being on campus, but you do it at your own time at your own pace. And I think that is actually very valuable as part of the online program. So, you get the same lectures you would on campus. You're getting the same exact assignments. You're still interacting with students, whether it's discussion boards or group projects. There's a lot of group projects, which I think is actually-

Interviewer:
A lot of interaction.

Robert:
Exactly. So you'd be surprised to find that, although you're working more, you're sitting in front of your computer, you're still getting a similar level of engagement. The professors are right there whenever you need them. I was here last week asking a lot of questions about finance actually. So it's not that different to be totally honest after going through it.

Interviewer:
Yeah. Similar experience?

Karina:
Well, one of the things I found surprising was that being able to revisit the material was incredibly helpful, especially when-

Robert:
That's a great point.

Karina:
... I was struggling with a particular part of the subject. I am not an accountant so let me just say that. So going back to those lectures, if I felt like I missed something or I needed clarification rather than rereading the text that I just spent all this time reading was helpful. Also, I mean, I don't know how many students have had this experience, but when I was in undergrad, if I got sick and I missed a lecture, sometimes it was just, especially depending on the course pace, it could be debilitating. And so you felt like you missed something really critical that would impact your performance. So I feel like I'm able to do better because of that, because I can revisit materials.

Interviewer:
Right. And it sounds like you can revisit it in a targeted way, in a way that makes sense for where your gap is and attack it.

Karina:
Exactly right.

Interviewer:
Yeah. Sarah, do you have a different or something else that you want to add? I mean, these were two totally different answers.

Sarah:
Absolutely, great answers in a very, very similar as well. One thing I found with the online in making that transition, most certainly, is how to self-pace and leaving that schedule of going to class Monday, Thursday, whatever that may be. But the self-pace makes a huge difference. Especially, you know, I've been out of school for eight years and came back. So making that adjustment, it was tricky, but the online program really opens the horizon to do so. And then in regards to interacting with students, Karina and I are in the same cohort and we speak often. There's many different channels to speak and to continue to build those relationships.

I live locally, so actually our cohort created a volleyball team which was really fun. So we played intramural volleyball. So again, you don't have to be local to have these experiences, but you are open to every aspect that Santa Clara offers inclusive of intramural sports or the libraries, or again, coming to talk to your professors. So the online experience really is what you make of it. Yes, it's very nice being local, but you do not have to be. We have some students in our cohort that are actually international, which is really cool to work with them. So again, it's what you make of it, but it just makes your opportunities very, very vast and fun. It's a great program to be a part of for sure.

Interviewer:
Can you guys talk a little bit about the cohort because now that's come up a couple of times and maybe people don't understand how that works.

Karina:
Well, basically you all get onboarded at the same time, have an on campus intensive over the course of a long weekend. And during that long weekend, you get to know one another, you build relationships, friendships even, and ultimately are then a part of this same kind of class set in a lot of your classes. You have overlap between cohorts so you get to know other students as well, but it provides a good base, and I think enables us to really get the start at collaborative working together a little bit more effectively.

Interviewer:
Cool. Do you feel like it makes a difference when you go into a class, go in to start a class and you already know people that are there?

Karina:
Definitely.

Sarah:
Absolutely.

Robert:
Absolutely. I kind of call it my school family. So you're able to join a class and you see some familiar faces. Like you said, you do meet in person when you start. So you actually build the relationships as soon as the program starts. And I think when you see them there, you're like, "All right, let's get in a group together or mix a little bit."

Sarah:
Right, right, right.

Robert:
You have some experience and trust. You know some of the folks [inaudible].

Sarah:
That makes sense.

Interviewer:
Do you guys have a favorite class? Will there be a consensus?

Robert:
Well, I'll start with mine cause I'm actually taking it right now. So there's a class called Integrated Marketing Communications. And it's very unique because we're actually working with a real life client. So all the groups in the class are effectively putting together integrated marketing campaigns.

Karina:
That would be fun.

Robert:
Yeah, it is.

Sarah:
Cool.

Robert:
So we meet weekly with the client. We review the content with the professor, but we're given a lot of creative liberty. So we're sitting there and we kind of joke, we're like, "If our jobs don't work out, maybe we'll start a marketing firm or something." Assuming we get a good grade.

Interviewer:
Oh yes. You're being prepared for it. Same... No, you're not taking that class [inaudible].

Karina:
No, not yet. So I would say presently, it was probably my hardest class. So it's a little strange to have a favorite class that was also your most difficult. It was Accounting last quarter, and I'm not saying that I want to change professions or go into finance, but I personally just found that the professor made a difficult subject digestible for me. And that was really surprising. So I did well, I worked my butt off to get that good grade, but ultimately...

Interviewer:
But you also felt like ruled a lot of satisfaction out of doing that and learning what you...

Karina:
It was definitely difficult, but I got through it and I learned a lot, again, serving that whole purpose and trying to get a better understanding of how the financial systems of a company operate.

Interviewer:
Absolutely. You want to jump in.

Sarah:
Yeah, absolutely. So we just took a course, Marketing in Silicon Valley, and that's a huge benefit to attending Santa Clara is you get these courses that are literally relevant to what's in our backyard. And this class was specific to all new up and coming businesses within the Silicon Valley, which is exciting because we could be creating these businesses soon too. And it was really nice to put in perspective how to do it, what it looks like, and it was the subject I had never touched because I'm actually from Seattle and we don't have that type of Silicon Valley business. It's coming, but it's not quite as prevalent as it is here. So I found that to be really interesting and definitely an aspect that I hadn't touched prior.

Interviewer:
That's cool. And that's another class that has, I think, some cases, some interviews with executives and that sort of thing?

Sarah:
That are local. And again, you can interact with these companies and even be like, "I'm a student at Santa Clara. I'd love to have an informational interview." These executives are very interested in interacting with not only the professors, but then the students where this material's going.

Interviewer:
So I'm going to build up on that... Networking opportunities? What do you guys think about what's been available? What kinds of things have you enjoyed doing? We're all here tonight.

Robert:
I was going to say, well...

Interviewer:
Karina?

Karina:
Well, I've just found that it's really great to be able to connect with the professors, for one, face to face. You know, get to know them from the virtual environment, but just having the opportunity to make that personal connection. And then also just more opportunities to connect with your other students, other cohorts, learn from them, the good, the bad, and sometimes the difficult. "Hey, I'm running into this challenge with this class. Why is this so hard for me? What did you do to get through that?"

Interviewer:
Yeah.

Robert:
Absolutely.

Karina:
I mean, because you can't be great at everything.

Interviewer:
No. And that's what the network is for, right? Like your extended family?

Robert:
Yeah, exactly.

Interviewer:
Yeah. Makes sense.

Robert:
Well, I was just going to add the amazing thing is I think there's a networking event it seems like every two weeks. I can't make it...

Karina:
Yeah.

Robert:
At least every month. So there's always an opportunity to get on campus, extend your network, see the teachers like tonight, for example. And I had a great time at our online happy hour I think it was two months back at The Hut across the street. So that was a lot of fun.

Karina:
Oh yeah.

Sarah:
Oh, yeah, yeah.

Interviewer:
That was good. What advice would you guys give for students considering applying or people thinking about doing this program? I don't know whether the application process or just how to think about the opportunity?

Sarah:
Do it. You just need to most certainly. You're already thinking about it so just take the time and apply. The application process... For me, it actually really challenged me to think about what it is I want to do next. And that's a question everyone asks, but I think we naturally have a really hard time articulating that and the application process as well as the interview process helps you articulate that and kind of create what your goal is for this program. The program's only two years. A lot of us are used to four your programs where you have kind of that time to think it through maybe back and change. And this one's fast so you want to be ready for what it is you want to accomplish from this program, and the application process, while it might seem long, it's actually very beneficial as you jump into this program.

Robert:
Well, I really like the point about just do it. The story I told to a few folks was that I had studied for my GMAT maybe five years ago, and then I had my son. And so that kind of went to the back burner.

Karina:
Everything changes.

Robert:
Yeah, exactly. Everything does change. And I sort of realized, I was like, "Wow, that was five years ago. I would have my MBA today had I finished." So to your point, if you're on the fence, jump in, apply, talk to the admissions. It will help you make that decision.

Karina:
On a similar vein, for the past 10 years I've been considering going to get my MBA. And I just kept stalling because people would tell me, "Oh, well you're already at the senior executive level, what is it really going to do for you?" Yet I still wanted to, and I still wanted to, and I still wanted to. So I think just do it, absolutely. The other piece that I found that was absolutely beautiful was the referral process because I had to reach out to people in my network that I thought would be good representatives of what I could do in the world.

One of them was a fellow Bronco. He graduated with his MBA from Santa Clara many, many years ago. And another was this great marketing leader I've worked with in the past. And the stories that they told about me were so incredible cause they shared them with me afterwards. And I think we aren't necessarily always our best advocates, and they reminded me of all of my best attributes in a way that made me just feel much more confident. And I feel like that's the entire pursuit of the MBA. It's ultimately living with your best self and coming forward and just saying, this is what I want to be.

Interviewer:
Yeah. Well thank you guys. Thank you for taking the time today. Everybody out there, apply online MBA here at Santa Clara University. It's meaningful from beginning to end and we hope that you'll join us.

An online experience that transcends the digital

Watch three Online MBA students discuss how our engaging program gives you the opportunity to network with like-minded business professionals, learn from our exceptional faculty in an online environment, and participate in on-campus events and activities if you're in the area. Want to learn more about the journey our students undertake? Explore the steps of the Silicon Valley Professional (SVP) Journey here. Curious about how we prepare you for this journey? Discover the innovative tools we provide to transform our students into SVPs here.

Robert-Woblesky
From Our Students
Like many others, when I first imagined “online learning”, I was worried that it would just be me watching a lot of videos. As soon as I took my first class I realized that engaging with teachers and other students would be a key part of the program.
Robert Woblesky
'21, Online MBA
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